ECONOMIC INDICATORS – THE LATEST UPDATES
Boating News Net — Monthly Economic Report, September, 2011
BOATING NEWS NET is a monthly economic report produced by NMMA, which features industry and general economic indicators that impact your business.
From the latest September 7, 2011 edition, economic growth in the second quarter was downwardly revised to 1%, primarily reflecting weaker exports and a reduction in inventories. Consumer spending in household services and federal government spending increased, while state and local government spending declined. Corporate profits rose 3% in the second quarter.
Consumer confidence fell to a 28-month low of 44.5 in August, reflecting a significant drop in consumer confidence on short-term outlooks. The Expectations Index fell nearly 25 points to 51.9. The European Commission also reported European confidence fell in August. Another drop was noted in CEO confidence which fell 12 points to 55 in the second quarter of 2011. CEOs’ assessments of the current economy and their own industries were pessimistic. A significantly greater proportion of CEOs rated current conditions as worse than they were six months ago. Yet, 70% of CEOs also anticipate profit increases over the next 12 months, possibly reflecting overseas demand.
Growth in retail sales accelerated for the third consecutive month—up 0.5% in July and totaling $390 billion—beating expectations. Sales of existing single family homes fell 4% in July hitting an eight-month low of 4.1 million while new home sales fell for the fourth consecutive month to 298,000. Housing starts retracted slightly from a five-month high to 604,000 in July. Some analysts do not expect the housing market to pick up until 2012.
Light vehicle sales totaled 1.1 million in August, up 9% from a year ago on a rolling 12-month basis. After adjusting for seasonal factors, the annualized light vehicles sales totaled 12.1 million. Industry analysts expect sales to pick up in September, reflecting Labor Day discounts and improved dealer stock.
Advance data indicates that through the first half of 2011, wholesale shipments of traditional powerboats were up 7.9% from a year ago, corresponding dollars were up 21.6%. In the first quarter of 2011, new powerboat registrations were down 5% on a rolling 12-month basis, compared to a year ago. Advance estimates indicate sales will be down 0.4% on a rolling 12 month basis through July. Recreational boat and marine engine export volumes were up 3% in the second quarter of 2011, while dollars were down 4% from a year ago. Corresponding import volumes were up 9%; dollars were up 6%.
Other Top Economic News:
Consumer Confidence Sluggish in September
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index remained essentially unchanged in September after declining sharply in August.
The index now stands at 45.4, up slightly from 45.2 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 32.5 from 34.3. The Expectations Index edged up to 54 from 52.4 last month.
“The pessimism that shrouded consumers last month has spilled over into September. Consumer expectations, which had plummeted in August, posted a marginal gain. However, consumers expressed greater concern about their expected earnings, a sign that does not bode well for spending. In addition, consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined for the fifth consecutive month, a sign that the economic environment remains weak,” Lynn Franco, director of The Conference Board Consumer Research Center, said in a statement.
Consumers’ assessment of current conditions weakened further in September. Those claiming business conditions are “good” decreased to 11.7 percent from 14.1 percent, while those claiming business conditions are “bad” remained virtually unchanged at 40.4 percent. Consumers’ appraisal of employment conditions, however, was mixed. Those claiming jobs are “hard to get” increased to 50.0 percent from 48.5 percent, while those stating jobs are “plentiful” increased to 5.5 percent from 4.8 percent.
“In addition, consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined for the fifth consecutive month, a sign that the economic environment remains weak,” Franco added.
Click here for the full report.
Unemployment Still at 9.1 Percent
Posted on Trade Only Today, 9/2/2011
The unemployment rate was unchanged in August, standing at 9.1 percent, as employers added a net of zero jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment in most major industries changed little during the month. Health care continued to add jobs, and a decline in information employment reflected a strike. Government employment continued to trend downward despite the return of workers from a partial government shutdown in Minnesota.
The number of unemployed people - 14 million - was essentially unchanged in August. The jobless rate has shown little change since April.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and longer) was nearly unchanged, at 6 million in August, and it accounted for 42.9 percent of the unemployed.
About 2.6 million people were marginally attached to the labor force in August, up from 2.4 million a year earlier. Those people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job some time in the prior 12 months.
They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
US Manufacturing Continues Slowdown
Source: IBI Plus – 9/2/2011
Economic activity in the US manufacturing sector continued to slow in August, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s monthly Manufacturing Report on Business. The report indicated that manufacturing expanded in August for the 25th consecutive month, but several of the indices are pointing to contractions in overall activities.
“The Production Index registered 48.6 per cent, indicating contraction for the first time since May of 2009,” said Bradley Holcomb, chair of ISM’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. “The New Orders and Backlog of Orders Indexes edged up slightly from July, but both indexes are indicating contraction in August at slower rates than in July."
Holcomb said that the report's Employment Index fell from July. “While this month represents the 23rd consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment, the August reading is also the lowest reading since November 2009,” said Holcomb.
The Transportation Equipment category, which includes recreational boats, reported growth in August.
"The overall sentiment is one of concern and caution over the domestic and international economic environment, which is affecting customers’ confidence and willingness to place orders, at least in the short term," said Holcomb.